06.03.2022 Feature Article

A Case Study Of Ghana

A Case Study Of Ghana
06.03.2022 LISTEN

Brigadier General Frederick Gordon Guggisberg, was the British administrator who accelerated the development of the Gold Coast colony. He was governor of the Gold Coast (Ghana) 1919-27.

Guggisberg added 168 km of railway to the 430 km which existed in 1919. On the road networks, Guggisberg added the total of 5340 km new motorable roads, to existing ones.

. He also, doubled the export of cocoa for foreign exchange generation. He attempted to diversify Agricultural produce, by encouraging the production of oil palm, shea butter, peanuts in commercial quantities

The Plan for hydroelectric power generation plant at Akosombo was on his agenda (1924)

He undertook massive educational reforms in the then Gold Coast.

Class sizes were reduced; new training colleges were constructed.

Local history, and folklore were introduced into the educational curriculum.

Physical education and organized sporting activities;

Prior to his appointments as Governor, Guggisberg had served in the Gold Coast as a surveyor during 1902-08.

In 1902, Guggisberg was assigned by the Colonial Office to do a special survey of the Gold Coast Colony and Ashanti. He became the director of surveys in the Gold Coast colony in 1905. After undertaking similar duties in Nigeria during 1909-1913 period, Guggisberg returned to the Gold Coast in 1914, as the director of public works on the Gold Coast. However, the advent of the First World War, took him back to Europe for military duties.

He returned, at the end of WWI, to assume duty as the Governor and commander-in-chief of the Gold Coast.

As a surveyor, Guggisberg traveled throughout the length and breadth of the country, and helped to produce an accurate map of the Gold Coast.

He also, came in close contact with the indigenous people and their tribal chiefs. He got to know what the indigenes needed first-hand, to compete with the rest of the world.

As a governor, Guggisberg developed a 10-year plan that focused upon building an infrastructure that would promote growth of the economy and give the Gold Coast a competitive advantage in the world market. Guggisberg’s ten-year development program included prioritizing the improvement of transportation, water supply, drainage, hydroelectric projects, public buildings, town improvements, schools, hospitals, prisons, communication lines, and other services.

Among his monumental achievements were
. The construction of the deep-water Harbour at Takoradi (1921-1928) Ships began to dock on the coast of the Gold Coast, for the first time in 1926.

. The Korle Bu hospital in Accra (1923) to train future African doctors, locally. The locals were grateful. They sang a thank-you song, “Korle-Bu, Korle-Bu, Korle-Bu Oyiwala donn” for him. His statue, erected in 1974, stands in front of the Hospital

. He founded Achimota College (1927) to train local Africans, as teachers and Educationists.

Guggisberg died, three years after serving the Goold Coast.

Ghana declared her independence of British rule in March of 1957

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and his Convention People Party (CPP), won the General elections that ushered Ghana into her independence.

There were two main political parties: The United Party, and the CPP.

Many of Ghana’s intelligentsia at the time of her independence, were in the opposition United Party.

Nkrumah brought in Chinese technocrats to help with his administration of the West African Country.

There was rivalry between Communist China and the Western countries, particularly the USA and Great Britain.

The Western countries planned and executed an economic sabotage against the Nkrumah-CPP Government.

Ghana depended on foreign exchange earned from the sale of her Cocoa produce on the international market. Cocoa sales had contributed to 60% of Ghana’s foreign exchange earnings.

Cocoa beans were sold on the world market at $500/ton in 1961, compared with $347/ton in 1964-65

The fall in the price of cocoa had a heavy toll, on Ghana’s economy. There was a rapid decrease in foreign reserves.

Nkrumah became helpless; he even ordered for the destruction (intentional burning) of cocoa beans.

Ghana’s economy began to plummet, and living conditions became hard.

There were agitations from the Civil Servants for better living conditions. Nkrumah became unsettled by the agitations.

Nkrumah accused the opposition for promoting the agitations.

Leaders of Trade Unions and Opposition Party were thrown into jail.

Ghanaians lost trust in Nkrumah.
Several attempts to assassinate Nkrumah failed. One example was an incident that occurred in January 1964.

On Thursday morning, January 2, 1964, a Police constable, Seth Ametewee, attempted to assassinate President Nkrumah. The President was heading towards his car at the Flagstaff house, when Ametewee fired live bullets at the him. A presidential guard, Police Superintendent Salifu Dagarti, died in the process. Salifu was behind a stationary vehicle. He was hit in the head, by a stray bullet as he got up to take a look at the shooter. The President escaped the attack, thanks to the armored vest he was wearing at that time. The President then tackled Ametewee and subdued him. It took a while before help finally, arrived. Nkrumah’s security had failed him once again. It was alleged that during Ametewee’s assault on the president; security personnel instead of jumping into action to save the president immediately, only stood-by from vantage positions to observe the act. It was only when the president overcame the assault and held Ametewee down before the presidential security could jump into action.

Nkrumah lost trust with the Ghana Armed forces.
He converted the POGR, into a well-equipped, and better resourced, Russian-trained Battalion, which was directly, under his command.

The regular Ghanaian Armed Force were sidelined by Nkrumah.

Nkrumah, in addition, sent Ghanaian Service men to help his friend, Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, during the Congo crisis. Scores of Ghanaian troops lost their lives in Congo Democratic Republic.

The British-trained Ghanaian Military and Police officers had enough of their commander in chief’s antics. They plotted on removing President Nkrumah from Office.

Many opposition figures were detained by Nkrumah form his preventive Detention Act, an act passed by the then Ghana’s Parliament to detain suspicious characters for no less than five years without Bail or a court proceeding.

President Nkrumah even dismissed Ghana’s Chief Justice for failing to convict the three Ga-members of the Governing CPP, who Nkrumah had accused of masterminding the Kunungugu-grenade explosion that nearly killed the president.

Kunungugu Grenade explosion
The president was returning from a meeting with the President of Upper Volta, Maurice Yameogo at Tekundugo, in August 1962. The president and his convoy had reached the outskirts of Bawku, when the incident happened.

President Nkrumah stopped at Kunungugu to greet school children who had lined up the street since early morning.

Nkrumah stepped out of his car, and he was walking towards the children to receive a bouquet of flowers when a grenade mysteriously, went off. A security officer, walking with Nkrumah immediately, wrestled the president to the ground. Luckily, the president sustained fragmentation wounds on his upper and lower back. The President survived a grenade attack but the flower girl was killed; 55 others were injured.

With Ghana declared a one-party State with no effective government-opposition in parliament, the Judiciary became powerless against Nkrumah. The British trained leaders of the Ghana Armed forces and the police, decided to act and remove the president from office.

That day was Thursday, February 24, 1966. President Nkrumah had left Ghana on February 21st 1966, and he was in in Burma on his way to Peking (Beijing) when the coup occurred. Nkrumah was heading for Peking to start a mediation effort, to end the war between North and South Vietnam.

The coup resulted in many casualties. The most often mentioned name, was that of General Charles Barwah, the deputy CDS. (General N.A. Afari, the CDS, was in Ethiopia at the time of the coup). General Barwah failed to surrender when ordered to do so by the coup plotters. He was shot dead at his home on the day of the coup.

According to the spokesperson and member of Ghana’s New military and Police regime NLC (National Liberation Council) Colonel Ocran, 7 soldiers and 20 members of Nkrumah’s presidential guard, lost their lives during the military take-over.

Madam Fathia Nkrumah (the Egyptian wife of President Nkrumah) and her three children were allowed to leave for Egypt, on the day of the coup. Earlier, Madam Fathia had advised the remnants of Nkrumah’s presidential guard, who had been fighting since early morning, to lay down their weapons and they obeyed her.

Ghanaians were already disillusioned with Nkrumah’s policies and there was spontaneous jubilation when Nkrumah’s overthrow was announced on Radio Ghana.

General Arthur Ankrah denied any foreign influence in the 1966 coup. Several foreign intelligence agencies hear about the coup plot, which they knew was inevitable.

The reasons assigned to the coup were as follows:
. Ghana had become a single-party State, with no effective Opposition.

. PDA (Protective Detention Act), was in full use and the act was frequently used to silence Nkrumah’s critics.

. There was no Judicial independence.
. Mounting Ghana’s Foreign Debt
. There was a lack of Essential Commodities
. Ghana’s regular Army and Police had low morale,

. Nkrumah had gone against Ghana’s traditions by showing a Lack of respect for traditional Chiefs, and Structured Institutions.

We’ve lived in Britain before, and therefore, didn’t like this dictatorship. There was no freedom of the press or of the individual- things we know are fundamental human rights. Nkrumah introduced party politics into the army. He took a man with no training as an officer, Mr. Hassan, appointed him a brigadier general and put him in charge of military intelligence. Hence, we had a situation in which mess corporals were watching commanding officers and reporting them. What greater insult to our intelligence and patriotism?

That was Colonel Akwasi Afrifa, explaining the Ghana situation during an interview with the London Observer on March 13, 1966.

After the coup, Nkrumah settled in Guinea. His friend President Sekou Toure, made Nkrumah the co-president of Guinea. Nkrumah lived in Guinea until 1971 when he left for Romania to seek therapy for a skin cancer.

Nkrumah died in Bucharest, on Thursday, April 27, 1972, at the age of 62 years.

The 1966 COUP DETAT.
It was solely the British-trained Ghanaian military officers who planned and successfully carried out he coup that toppled the Convention Peoples’ Party in February 1966.

General Arthur Ankrah denied any foreign influence in the 1966 coup.

It was Lt. Gen Ankrah, the deputy C.D.S and his immediate boss, General S.J.A. Otu, who originated the coup idea.

When President Nkrumah got a hint about the coup plot, he questioned the two senior military officers.

The CDS and his assistant denied any knowledge of such and act.

Nkrumah rightfully, sacked General S.J.A. Otu, the CDS and his deputy General J. A. Ankrah, in July 1965.

Nkrumah replaced them with the more loyal General Nathaniel Afari (CDS) and General Charles Barwah (deputy CDS).

Nkrumah felt safe with acting IGP, John Harley; and allowed him to remain at post, which was a big mistake.

Another mistake that Nkrumah made was to ask the retired General Ankrah, to determine the “order of battle” for the Army in 1965.

In drawing the order of battle, General Ankrah, made sure, his protégé, Lt. Colonel Emmanuel Kotoka, became a brigade commander.

The National Liberation Council (NLC) Chairman, General Ankrah, denied any foreign involvement. He was adamant that the coup was a wholly, Ghanaian affair.

The diplomatic community in Ghana knew that a coup in Ghana was inevitable.

Before the 1966 coup d'état that overthrew the Nkrumah regime, wave of military coups had been blowing across West Africa in the early 1960s:

. Enyadema overthrew Olympio on January 13, 1963 in Togo

. Soglo overthrew Mago on October 28, 1963 in Dahomey (Benin).

. Soglo once again overthrew Apithy on November 27, 1965.

. Lamizana on January 1966, overthrew Maurice Yameogo in Upper Volta (Burkina Faso).

. Nzeogwu overthrew Tafawa Balewa on January 16, 1966 in Nigeria.

The remnants of the PORG were distributed among the regular Army Battalions.

Thousands of jailed Nkrumah’s opposition members were released from incarceration

The National Liberation Council, the Government that replaced Nkrumah handed power back to Civilians in 1969.

Nkrumah's supporters had been banned from politics and they could not take part in the 1969 General elections that brought Nkrumah's Opposition party, now known as The Progress Party to power.

Displeased with their ban from active politics, remnants of the CPP planned with CPP elements within the Ghana’s Military, to overthrow the Progress Party Government, within 27months of being in power.

Lt. Col Acheampong became the new leader of the National redemption council on January 13, 1972, when the Progress Party government was ousted from power.

The CPP had expected Acheampong to hand power back to them. Acheampong refused to do that. Mr. Kojo Botsio, a former member of Nkruma’s cabinet attempted to influence Colonel Robert Kotei, with 5000 Cedis to remove Acheampong. Kotei Leaked the information to the security agents, Kojo Botsio and his CPP group were arrested, prosecuted and jailed.

Acheampong had thrown Afrifa into jail. Afrifa and Akuffo were friends. Afrifa encouraged General Akuffo to stage the palace coup that removed Acheampong from office as head of State, and brought Akuffo into power.

The Supreme Military council was formed.
One of Nkrumah's ardent supporters was Boakye Gyan. As a student leader at the University of Ghana. Nkrumah had met Boakye Gyan, at the Flagstaff house, to explain his vision for Ghana and Africa to him. Boakye Gyan became an ardent follower of President Nkrumah.

After the 1966 coup, Boakye Gyan joined Ghana’s Military, and formed an organization: The Free Africa Movement (FAM) The FAM was formed with one aim, to punish the Military leaders who overthrew the Nkrumah CPP-Government, to discouraging future military coups.

An off-shoot of the FAM later, toppled the second Military regime in Ghana on June 4, 1979.

June 4 1979
Fl.Lt. Rawling was languishing in jail for an attempted coup d'état on May 15, 1979.

Captain Boakye Gyan was a military intelligence personnel, working with the 5th battalion. His colleagues at the military intelligence informed him that there were plans to execute Rawlings and his friends on June 4,1979.

Boakye Gyan and Rawlings were friends. It was likely he would be executed with Rawlings. The FAM operatives decided to act quickly by overthrowing the military Government during the early hours of June 4, 1979.

The junior Army officers had succeeded in arresting many members of the SMCII regime.

The coup plotters were advised by the staff of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) when they took over the radio station, to go for a commissioned officer to deliver the news to Ghanaians on the GBC radio. A suggestion was made, to use Rawlings for the announcement. Rawling was an air force captain languishing in jail for an attempted coup on May15,1979. His subsequent court martial had made him popular with Ghanaians. The coup makers then released Rawlings from Jail. Rawlings took over the airwaves and announced the coup. He became the ceremonial head of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) on June 4, 1979.

After experimentations with military regimes, Ghana eventually, settled for a constitutional Democracy in 1992. Ghana has been a stable country since 1992.